A new book proposes that we are entering an era where consumers have higher expectations for business. Marketing must evolve to meet those expectations.
In pulling together a webinar I hosted last week on member loyalty, I came across a new book by Philip Kotler, Marketing 3.0: From Products to Consumers to the Human Spirit. Many will recognize Kotler as one of the prolific masters of marketing, especially if you’ve ever taken a formal marketing class in school.
In his 47th (!) book, Kotler suggests that we have moved from “Marketing 1.0” – a period where businesses focused on their products, through “Marketing 2.0”—where business focused on consumer needs, to a new era of “Marketing 3.0”. In his words:
“Marketing 3.0 is the stage when companies shift from consumer-centricity to human-centricity and where profitability is balanced with corporate responsibility. Marketing 3.0 relies heavily on the marketers ability to sense human anxieties and desires, which are rooted in creativity, culture, heritage and the environment.”
Good examples include Apple, Virgin, the Body Shop and even Starbucks. To succeed in this environment, Kotler says we need a 3 part mission that includes:
- Doing business as unusual (this idea is borrowed from Anita Roddick, founder of the Body Shop);
- Having a story that moves people (remember the Gregory’s?)
- Empowering consumers to share your story (see SF Fire & Yelp).
Why is this so important? Because when consumers develop a strong connection to a company or brand, they are more loyal and they are more likely to share their satisfaction with others. This word of mouth marketing is becoming even more influential with the growth of social media networks.
And here is where a word of warning from Kotler comes in handy:
“There is no chance for inauthentic brands to survive when word-of-mouth becomes the new advertising medium and consumers believe strangers within their communities more than they believe companies.” (emphasis added).
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